Saturday, December 18, 2010


Waiting On God To Act

Christmas and Easter are FACTS the devil cannot destroy. God is presently working in our world.

“Therefore, when He came into the world, He said: "Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, But a body You have prepared for Me. In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You had no pleasure. Then I said, 'Behold, I have come--In the volume of the book it is written of Me--To do Your will, O God.' "
Hebrews 10:5-7; Psalm 40:6-8; Phil. 2:8.

The Eternal Word became flesh!

"Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel," which is translated, "God with us." Matt 1:22-23; John 1:14.

“Here we turn to the humanity of Jesus. The (Eternal) Word became man without ceasing to be fully God. The mystery of God Incarnate. He assumed complete human nature, both a physical body and a rational soul - every thing we are, except for sin. As God and man in one Person, Christ accomplishes a redemption that fully heals and saves fallen humanity.” Wallerstedt

1. A promise takes time.

Nothing is too difficult for God. When the time was right, The Eternal Word came into our world in flesh & blood - the Incarnation. “But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.” Gal 4:4-5 (compare 1 Timothy 2:15)

2. Some were waiting for the Messiah to come.

“While most of Israel was clueless about God’s plan of salvation, and angry about Roman occupation, Simeon knew Jesus was coming - and the Holy Spirit told him he wouldn't die until he saw the Messiah. When Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to the temple to be dedicated, Simeon took the boy in his arms and declared that He was the ‘light of revelation to the Gentiles.”’ (Luke 2:32). Grady

a) Simeon. “And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. So he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said: "Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, According to Your word; For my eyes have seen Your salvation Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, And the glory of Your people Israel." And Joseph and His mother marveled at those things which were spoken of Him. Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, "Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed." Luke 2:25-35

b) Anna. “Now there was one, Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, and had lived with a husband seven years from her virginity; and this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. And coming in that instant she gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem.” Luke 2:36-38

3. The Martyrs wait for Jesus to Come Again.

“When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. And they cried with a loud voice, saying, "How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?" Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed.” Rev 6:9-11

The Book of Revelation gives us the Vision of the Ages. Humanity is marching toward the Climax that God has prepared. Jesus will Come in Power and Glory!!!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Preaching The Gospel of CHRIST

Early Christians used the Fish <")))>< IXTHYS as a symbol of the basic gospel. Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior. Some still use it today. [It's an acrostic.]

Peter writes in the context of assuring Christians of the hope we have, and of the dangers which face the church.

"And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts;" 2 Peter 1:19 (NKJV)

The false teachers may not be who we think. We are in a battle for truth with evil. Peter warns that some will "deny the Lord who bought them." The devil first attacks the Holy Spirit and then denies that the Lord Jesus actually came in the flesh (see 1John 4:1-4).

Some said Jesus only seemed to be human, and that He did not actually raise from death (1Cor. 15:12-20). A "rising from the dead" certainly proves the human side of Jesus who experienced life from our point of view (Phil. 2:5-9).

But He did not cease to be God even though He "lowered Himself" in order to die for us (Hebrews 2:5-9,10,14,16).

Christ Jesus in the flesh "tasted death for every man."

"In the Incarnation, God the Eternal Word did not come in appearance only. He truly took flesh & blood from Mary the Virgin, who was the "mother" through whom God came into the world. He became the same as we are, so that He could truly enter death and bring us salvation. Christ destroyed the devil's power by using the devil's strongest weapon - death itself. Hebrews 9:14-15." (Wallerstedt)

John emphasizes that Jesus came with the water [of His baptism] and the blood [of His death]. See 1 John 5:6. "This is He who came by water and blood--Jesus Christ; not only by water, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is truth." (NKJV)

Rob Lacey understood this:
"Jesus the Messiah - two lasting images.
Soaking wet at His baptism (by John),
caked in blood at His execution (on the cross).
But He didn't stop short at the water.
NO, HE went through with the water AND the blood.
And God's SPIRIT backs it all up with HIS INTEGRITY!
Three pieces of evidence: the water, the blood
and the account of God's SPIRIT -
and they all add up to the same thing - TRUTH."

1 John 4:1-4

Here's how you test for the genuine
Holy Spirit of God.
Everyone who confesses openly his faith
in Jesus Christ—the Son of God,
who came as an actual flesh-and-blood person,
who entered time and space to save us—
comes from God and belongs to God.
And everyone who refuses to confess faith in Jesus
has nothing in common with God.
My dear children, you come from God
and belong to God.
You have already won a big victory
over those false teachers,
for The Holy Spirit in you is far stronger
than anything in the world.

This Is My Bible

This is my Bible - my Light and my Guide.
It points me to JESUS the Savior of the world.
It tells me of God's great Love for me,
and spells out the many Promises of Hope
and how He puts people right with Himself
through the kind of Faith that Abraham had.
God's Word is truth and refreshing water to my soul.
Thank You God for teaching me to seek You
in all that I do and say.
I trust You today and choose
to commit my every decision to You so that
I can grow strong like the tree planted by
the water. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Eating The Holy Meal

Eating The Lord's Supper

1. What is this Holy Meal?

a) A memorial feast by faith.

"And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me." Luke 22:19

In the Bible remembrance is reliving the original event.

b) A communion (sharing) with Christ.

"The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?" 1 Cor 10:16

c) A FACT celebrated in real time.

It is an action in which we share.

It has a deep spiritual reality.

We are discerning the Lord's sacrifice.

We are asking God to remember what His Son's death effected between Him and us - the New Covenant (Hebrews 8:7-13).

We are remembering that we are one body in Christ.

"For we, though many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread." 1 Cor 10:17

2. Who should eat?

a) Citizens of the Kingdom.

"And I bestow upon you a kingdom, just as My Father bestowed one upon Me, that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel." Luke 22:29-30

A kingdom is relationship and loyalty. In obeying the gospel we "put on Christ."

Paul wrote: "He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins." Col 1:13-14

b) Those who discern the body.

His body of flesh & blood that was nailed to the cross.

"Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world." 1 John 4:1-3

His spiritual body - which we are members of.

"For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body--whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free--and have all been made to drink into one Spirit." 1 Cor 12:13

c) Those who have examined themselves.

"Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?--unless indeed you are disqualified. But I trust that you will know that we are not disqualified." 2 Cor 13:5-6

Some think they must punish themselves for sin by refusing to eat the Supper. This is mistaken.

"how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance." Heb 9:14-15

Properly humble and repentant.

"But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin." 1 John 1:7

d) We should neither invite nor forbid. The Supper is open to all. Each knows his/her faith. Each who eats and drinks take upon themselves the worship of the Risen Christ.

3. We should want to remember Him often.

The "first day" (Sunday) comes once a week. We - the church - gather to worship Him. Every Sunday we eat the Supper to praise Him and thank Him for His sacrifice. We show forth His death until He Comes. We presently celebrate the Supper in Christ's invisible presence, though one day we will see Him face-to-face in His eternal Kingdom.

Praying Effectively

Praying effectively - The Lord's model prayer.
Matt. 6:9-13; Luke 11:1-4

Globish Version [Basic English spoken worldwide]

Our Father, Who comes to us from above,
Your name is holy.
Your rule will soon be here,
Your will be executed, in this world, and in the above as well,
Give us today the food we need everyday,
And forgive what we do wrong
As we will also forgive the other persons who do wrong to us,
Do not lead us to have bad desires,
But, free us from all that is evil,
For You are the ruler of the above,
and Yours are the power, and highest honor for ever and ever.
Amen. [through Christ]

a) Our Father, Who comes to us from above.

You Oh God are our Creator!
You live in eye-melting light!
No one has ever seen You.
But Jesus has shown us Who You Are.
To You be everlasting honor and power!
[compare 1 Timothy 6:13-16; John 5:26; Col. 1:15]

b) Your name is holy.

"but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, "Be holy, for I am holy." 1 Peter 1:15-16; Leviticus 11:44-45.

c) Your rule will soon be here.

"And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ." John 1:16-17

"The law and the prophets were until John. Since that time the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is pressing into it." Luke 16:16

d) Your will be executed, in this world. [executed: put into effect; carried out; be accomplished]

"saying, "Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done." Luke22:42

e) Give us today the food we need everyday.

"So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord." Deut 8:3

f) And forgive what we do wrong.

"For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." Matt 6:14-15

g) Do not lead us to have bad desires.

"No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it."
1 Cor 10:13

"But as for me, I will come into Your house in the multitude of Your mercy; In fear of You I will worship toward Your holy temple. Lead me, O Lord, in Your righteousness because of my enemies; Make Your way straight before my face."
Psalms 5:7-8

"Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places."
Eph 6:10-12

h) For You are the ruler of the above.

"For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ."

2 Cor 4:6
"For You are the ruler of the above. Yours are the power, and highest honor for ever and ever, through Christ. Amen."

Jacob's Ladder

Jacob's Ladder - What Is Worship?

1. God has Plans (not emergencies).

God has a global crunch time built in to our world. Everyone of us is continually being tested by God's tough love. But this is a blessing as it works itself out.

a) God loved us before there was a Creation (Eph. 1:3-6). And God's Plan was to send the Eternal Word into our world in flesh & blood to be our Savior/Liberator.

"God is not impressed with what other people think of us, or even with our own opinion of ourselves. He sees what we really are, and He knows our motives as well as our deeds.... Christian worship, with familiar psalms, hymns, prayers and readings from the Scriptures, brings God the praise 'in spirit and in truth' which He seeks (John 4:23)." Wallerstedt

2. Jacob's vision of a ladder reaching up to heaven.

"Then he dreamed, and behold, a ladder was set up on the earth, and its top reached to heaven; and there the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. And behold, the Lord stood above it and said: "I am the Lord God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants." Gen 28:12-13

God speaks from the top of the ladder.
"I'm your God, your father's God, your grandfather's God!
Know what I'm doing right now?
I'm drawing a thick red line around this land.
I'm scribbling in 'Jacob and family' right across it.
You'll spread out - there'll be some of your family
at every point on the compass everywhere.
And they'll do people good - Salvation is from the Jews."
Jacob said this is no other than the House of God.
And this is the Gate of Heaven.
Jacob changed the name of the place to Bethel (God's place).

3. The Son of Man - Jesus.

"And He said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man." John 1:51

a) Jesus - the Son of Man - is 'Jacob's Ladder.

"Jesus - the Son of Man - is 'Jacob's Ladder,' man's access to God, the final and the fullest revelation of God. In His incarnation (taking of flesh & blood), God and man are united. In the teachings and miracles of His public ministry, the Kingdom of God on earth is inaugurated. His Cross, set up on earth like Jacob's ladder, reaches into heaven. Through His Resurrection, Ascension, and Exaltation to the right hand of God, human nature is raised into heaven. And through His Second Coming, all things will be reconciled to God. In Christ, heaven and earth are joined." Wallerstedt

"I was watching in the night visions, And behold, One like the Son of Man, Coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, And they brought Him near before Him. Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, Which shall not pass away, And His kingdom the one Which shall not be destroyed." Dan 7:13-14

b) Faith in Christ always succeeds.

"But the righteousness of faith speaks in this way, "Do not say in your heart, 'Who will ascend into heaven?' " (that is, to bring Christ down from above) or, " 'Who will descend into the abyss?'" (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? "The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart" (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved." Romans 10:6-9; Deuteronomy 30:11-14

Faith does not doubt even though we are sinful.

Faith is not distant, but near to us.

Faith transforms the whole person.

Faith is available to everyone equally.

c) The mouth confesses the Lord Jesus - that the Savior (Jesus) is God (Lord).

d) The heart believes that the Father raised the Son from the dead. That is to say: the heart believes in the Trinity (Father, Son, Holy Spirit), the Resurrection as fact, and in the works of the Son.

We trust God and take Him at His word. We put our faith into action by obeying Him. By believing in His Name we take part in His incomparable righteousness.

The First Christian Martyr

Stephen - The First Christian Martyr

God - in His wisdom - allows things to happen. Persecution of Christ and His church began with Stephen. But the results were not what you might expect. Satan cannot extinguish the FIRE! Through the Holy Spirit's POWER the FIRE blazed up still higher! And Saul, who approved Stephen's death, met JESUS on the road to Damascus. An honest man, Saul believed Christ. He became Paul the Apostle, a tireless worker for the LORD whom Stephen worshipped.

Paul's experience: "In Damascus the governor, under Aretas the king, was guarding the city of the Damascenes with a garrison, desiring to arrest me; but I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall, and escaped from his hands." 2Cor 11:32-33

1. The death of Stephen.

"Then the word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith. And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and signs among the people." Acts 6:7-8

"And he said, "Brethren and fathers, listen: The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Haran," Acts 7:2

"But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and said, "Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!" Acts 7:55-56

"And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, "Lord, do not charge them with this sin." And when he had said this, he fell asleep." Acts7:59-60

"When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. And they cried with a loud voice, saying, "How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?"
Rev 6:9-10

2. Saul of Tarsus - Paul the Apostle.

"As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?" And he said, "Who are You, Lord?" Then the Lord said, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads." Acts 9:3-5

"So I said, 'What shall I do, Lord?' And the Lord said to me, 'Arise and go into Damascus, and there you will be told all things which are appointed for you to do.' And since I could not see for the glory of that light, being led by the hand of those who were with me, I came into Damascus." Acts22:10-11

"But the Lord said to him, "Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name's sake." Acts 9:15-16

"For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day." 2 Tim 1:12

"Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, but declared first to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem, and throughout all the region of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance." Acts 26:19-20

Forgive For Your Own Sake

Forgive For Your Own Sake

"For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." Matt 6:14-15

1. Trust God's timing of events.

"Holy Father, there is so much that I do not understand. I forgive You (but it was I who was at fault) for the times death has come into the family, hard times, financial difficulties, or things that I thought were punishments sent by You. People said, 'It's God's will,' and I became bitter and resentful toward You. Purify my heart and mind today. Help me to look always to You and Your Glory."

a) We need to be aware of God's mercy.

David wrote: "Have mercy upon me, O God, According to Your lovingkindness; According to the multitude of Your tender mercies, Blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, And cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions, And my sin is always before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned, And done this evil in Your sight--That You may be found just when You speak, And blameless when You judge." Psalms 51:1-4

b) Sometimes life seems unfair.

"In life, we all have unfair things that happen to us. We can choose to hold on to the hurt, become bitter and angry, and let it poison our future; or, we can choose to let it go and trust God to make it up to us. You not think that you are able to forgive because someone hurt you so badly. You might say, "Joel, you don't know how I was raised." "My ex-spouse caused me a lot of pain." "This friend betrayed me." "I just can't let it go." But realize, you don't forgive for their sake; you forgive for your own sake. When you forgive, you are taking away their power to hurt you. But if you hold on to that offense and stay angry, you are only poisoning your own life and disconnecting yourself from God." Osteen

c) A door we can open.

Forgiveness is like a door on your heart. If you shut the door and refuse to forgive, then God cannot forgive you. But when you open the door and allow forgiveness to flow from you, then His forgiveness can flow into you. Choose to forgive and open the door to receive God's life, peace and healing today.

2. Christian love is a key.

a) Paul said Love is the greatest of all.

"When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love." 1 Cor 13:11-13

Christian love is key to everything else, especially dealing with the difficulties of life. Faith, hope, and love stand in contrast to unbelief, despair, hatred.

b) LOVE enables us to FORGIVE.

"But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers. And above all things have fervent love for one another, for "love will cover a multitude of sins." 1 Peter 4:7-8

c) And we have authority to pray for one another.

"And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him. If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin which does not lead to death, he will ask, and He will give him life for those who commit sin not leading to death. There is sin leading to death. I do not say that he should pray about that." 1 John 5:15-16

[sin unto death - Mark 3:28-29. If you can worry about it, you have not committed it.]


"My Father God, I thank You for the gift of forgiveness that sets me free. Help me to truly understand what it means to forgive so I can receive Your forgiveness. Search me today and have Your way in my heart. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


New Every Morning!

1. God loves us with a "tough love."

When God sent the Jews into captivity in Babylon it was because of their sins. God did not destroy them but He retrained them. Cut off from the Temple (which had been destroyed) they had to learn new forms of worship. Lamentations speaks of their despair mixed with confidence. The church always needs to learn the same lessons. Resist the devil! Turn back to God! For it is those whom He loves that He disciplines, And He scourges every son/daughter whom He acknowledges. Hebrews 12:6; Proverbs 3:11-12

a) "tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek; but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For there is no partiality with God." Romans2:9-11

b) "Judah has gone into captivity, Under affliction and hard servitude; She dwells among the nations, She finds no rest; All her persecutors overtake her in dire straits." Lamentations1:3

c) "Through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. "The Lord is my portion," says my soul, "Therefore I hope in Him!" Lamentations 3:22-24

d) "I would have lost heart, unless I had believed That I would see the goodness of the Lord In the land of the living. Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!" Psalms 27:13-14

2. Keep on pressing forward.

"Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." Phil 3:13-14

a) Christian, is there something that you've done in your past that you're not particularly happy about? A choice that you regret? A missed opportunity? A sin? The good news today is that you can be free of guilt and condemnation. You don't have to live with that burden any longer. "When God forgives, He forgets." "For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more." Hebrews 8:12; Jeremiah 31:31-34

b) James says: "My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him." James 1:2-5

c) "Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us," Hebrews 12:1

d) God's mercies are new every morning. He's not ever going to run out of compassion. He's not ever going to run out of forgiveness. He's not ever going to say, "Well, this is the last time I'm going to give you mercy." No, you can have a new beginning every single day!

Let that truth sink down deep into your heart right now. If there is anything from the past that you may still be carrying, take a moment and call on His faithfulness. Call on His mercy. Ask for His forgiveness. Let Him refresh and restore your soul right now. Praise Him and thank Him for the work He is doing in your life and enjoy a fresh new beginning today!

"Heavenly Father, today I choose to let go of every single weight from the past. I call on Your mercy; I call on Your grace. Thank You for hearing me and delivering me and cleansing me. I receive Your love and forgiveness today. In Jesus' Name. Amen."

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Reading Revelation

Seven Reasons Why I Read The Book Of Revelation
R. D. Ice 4/3/2002
[with thoughts from an article by Matt Proctor]

The Written Word includes the Book of Revelation. John is a preacher writing to ordinary Christians. When we read Revelation through eyes of devotion to Christ Jesus, we strengthen our obedience and deepen our faith.

"When you read Revelation, don't ask, 'How does this help me figure out the calendar?' Rather, ask, 'How does this help me follow Christ?'" Matt Proctor

"It is only when I see evil as clearly as I should that I pray as fervently as I should. That is why I need the Book of Revelation." Matt Proctor

"It's not the big deceptions, but all the little lies we buy that eventually bring us down. That's why we must call sin of every size by its true name." Matt Proctor
“But cowards who turn away from Me, and unbelievers, and the corrupt, and murderers, and the [sexually] immoral, and those who practice witchcraft, and idol worshipers, and all liars - their doom is in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur. This is the second death.” Rev. 21:8 The Book Version

"The world will reject, but God will reward (Rev. 11:17-19)." Compare John 16:33.

When I read the Book of Revelation:

1. I approach Jesus more humbly (chapter 1). The Gospels show us the human Jesus. He is one of us and knows our weaknesses and strengths. John leans on His breast at the Last Supper.

But Rev. ch 1 shows a towering, terrifying vision of The Risen Christ huge and blazing in His Holiness! Not only is Jesus fully Man - He is fully God! He is The Boss over the Universe! Compare Col. 1:15-20.

"I saw a gold menorah candlestick with seven branches, And in the center, the Son of Man, in a robe that reached to His feet with a gold breastplate, hair a blizzard of white, Eyes pouring fire-blaze, both feet furnace-fired bronze, His voice like a roaring waterfall, His right hand holding the Seven Stars, His mouth a sharp-biting sword, His face bright like the midday sun!"

This vision seen through Jewish eyes: Jesus the Son of Man is wearing the robe of the High Priest with the gold band of a king around His chest. His hair is white, not with age, but with heavenly glory. The fire-blaze of His eyes, the feet of polished brass, and the voice of command, show great power and authority. He has authority over even death and the Hadean world of the dead. “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Phil. 2:10-11

2. I love the church more honestly (chapter 2&3). All (local) churches fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). (Gasp). This is clear in Rev. 2&3. We have our feet of clay. BUT - Jesus still loves these churches! He loves them (and us) just as they are, commending each one (except Laodicea) for the good that is mixed in with the bad. Jesus accepts each just as they are - but He loves them too much to leave them unchanged. While the Bride of Christ has her "warts & wrinkles," the Bridegroom treats Her with tough and tender love and will not give up on Her.

"Are your ears awake? Listen to the Voice of the Holy Spirit speaking to the churches. Christ-conquerers are safe from Devil-death."

Compare Gal. 3:3; 5:22-23.

3. I enter worship more completely (chapters 4&5). "Wow! That's really all you can say when you enter the Throne-room of Heaven. You shield your eyes from dazzling light! You drop to your knees in fear and wonder! Incense fills your nostrils! A vast angelic host shakes the very foundation of the sky with their praise! The countless thundering voices reverberate in your chest! Amid all this, you are drawn irresistibly to the Figure on the Throne. HE is more glorious, more holy, more powerful, more beautiful than you ever imagined!

"They sang a new song! Worthy! yes worthy! Our God! The slain Lamb is worthy! Take the power, the wealth, the wisdom, the strength! Take the honor, the glory, the blessing! You created it all! Because You wanted it to be! Paying in the Blood of Your death You bought men and women from all over the earth! You bought them for God!"

4. I endure suffering more confidently (chapters 6-9). When the going gets tough, what do we do??? Tornadoes, sickness, floods, cancer, car wrecks - the effects of sin affect us all (Romans 8:18-21). The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse ride across the world. Note the White Horse leads the way. Compare Psalm 45:3-5. The Gospel of Christ conquers the world - but Satan sends war, famine pestilence,death - and lies. Yet Satan has already lost! Compare 1 John 5:1-5.

"How long, Strong God, how long, Holy and True?” “Sit back and wait, until the full number of martyrs is filled from among your fellow-servant brothers and sisters."

In chapter 7 we see and hear a vast crowd, too many to count, of believers singing praise to God! God does remember us and will save us! When the going gets tough, I can sing along with “the song of the Sealed and Saved."

"They were shouting and singing heartily! Salvation comes from our God, who sits on the throne, and from The Lamb! Amen! Praise, glory, wisdom, thanksgiving, honor, power, and might belong to our God forever and ever! Amen!"

In chapter 8 the angel adds incense to the prayers of God’s people. Peals of thunder, lightning and an earth- quake show that God did hear the prayers.

5. I speak God's truth more courageously (chapters 10&11). Preaching is not all congratulations and conversions. When John "swallows" God's message, it's bitter. When the witnesses finish speaking their testimony, they are killed! What does this all teach us - tell God's truth no matter the consequences. John doesn't write as much to instruct us in how to tell others, as to inspire us to tell the Good News of Jesus Christ with courage and boldness!

"Then I was told, Once again you must proclaim God's gospel-message about many nations, races, languages, and kings. God will complete His secret plan, as He announced to His servants, the prophets." Compare Acts 4:29-31.

6. I see evil more clearly (chapters 12-18). Satan is so sly that I often don't recognize his fingertips. John throws back the curtain of the visible world to show us reality. Materialism and pleasure-mad ways are not harmless. What sometimes looks harmless is really hellish. This world is not a playground but a battleground. And the battle is for our souls! John warns in 1 John 2:15-17, "Do not love the world. . .what the sinful self desires [lust of the flesh], what people see and want [lust of the eyes], and everything in this world that people are so proud of [the pride of life] - none of this comes from the Father." (GNT)

“How terrible, how terrible for Babylon, that great city! In one single moment God’s judgment came on her. The merchants of the world will weep and mourn for her, for there is no one left to buy their goods. She bought great quantities of gold, silver, jewels, pearls, fine linen, purple dye, silk, scarlet cloth, every kind of perfumed wood, ivory goods, objects made of expensive wood, bronze, iron, and marble. She also bought cinnamon, spice, incense, myrrh, frankincense, wine, olive oil, fine flour, wheat, cattle, sheep, horses, chariots, and slaves - yes, she even traded in human lives [the souls of men].” Rev. 18:10-13 The Book Version

REVELATION shows the final victory of God’s people over persecution. “I looked in the back of the Book and we win!” Basham

Persecution began very quickly. Acts 8:1 “A great wave of persecution began that day, sweeping over the church at Jerusalem, and all the believers except the apostles fled into Judea and Samaria.” The Book Version

Smyrna was the persecuted church. Note Rev. 2:10. “The devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested...”

The Church in Pergamos had a faithful martyr, Antipas (Rev. 2:13) who was killed for his faith.

“Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you . . .” (1 Peter 4:12-13).

“These present days of martyrdom are as brutal as any endured during the early and dark ages of the Church.” Knowles

Would you be a Christian if it cost you your job, your house, perhaps even your family???

Faith of our Fathers! living still
In spite of dungeon, fire, and sword;
O how our hearts beat high with joy
When-e’er we hear that glorious word
Faith of our Fathers, holy faith!
We will be true to Thee till death!

John wrote: “They overcame him (Satan) by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death” (Revelation 12:11).

7. I love Christ's Second Coming more deeply (chapters 19-22). When the world I look out upon seems to be hopeless - what do I pray? I pray the prayer that John taught: "Come, Lord Jesus! (Rev. 22:20)." The world is a place marred by sin. We are tired of famine, abortion, murder, deceit, natural disasters, cancer, death, sin, and Satan running wild through this world. Jesus is tired of it too!

Jesus will come crashing through the clouds, the angelic hosts behind Him. Time will screech to a Halt! In an instant (not some drawn out Armageddon battle), Satan and sin and death will be defeated! They will be thrown into the Lake of Fire, and New Heavens and a New Earth will be ours! And best of all, we will see our Lord - the Triune God - face to face! [1 Cor. 13:12; 2 Peter 3:11-13; Isaiah 65:17; 66:22]

On my darkest days, I turn and read the Book of Revelation and that keeps me going. And God promises you that you will be blessed (Rev. 1:3). "Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near."

"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was gone also. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a beautiful bride prepared for her husband. I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, 'Look, the home of God is now among His people! He will live with them, and they will be His people. God Himself will be with them. He will remove all of their sorrows, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. For the old world and its evils are gone forever.'" Rev. 21:1-4 The Book Version

"Look, I am coming soon, and My reward is with Me, to repay all according to their deeds. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. Blessed are those who wash their robes so they can enter through the gates of the city and eat the fruit from the tree of life. . . The [Holy] Spirit and the bride say, Come. Let each one who hears them say, Come. Let the thirsty ones come - anyone who wants to. Let them come and drink the water of life without charge." Rev. 22:12-13,17 The Book Version